Reports

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“Since the annexation, Russia has carried out extensive confiscation of public and private property, which it has referred to as ‘nationalization’ under Russian Federation legislation,” writes Dr. Anders Åslund, in Kremlin Aggression in Ukraine: The Price Tag, a new report by the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. If Kyiv loses the occupied Crimea and Donbas forever, the total asset value lost would be an estimated $98.4 billion for Ukraine. These two cases of military aggression were quite different, and their differences have persisted in relation to both the damage caused and how the territories have been governed. While conditions are bad in both territories, they are far worse in the Donbas.

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Since 2000, the United States has taken steps toward developing strategic stocks of emergency oil product reserves to safeguard supply from international crises and local events such as natural disasters. In recent decades, many International Energy Agency member states, including the United States, have emphasized product stockholding to facilitate rapid local emergency supply distribution. In his report, Strategic Oil Product Stockholding: International Experience and American Prospects, Global Energy Center Nonresident Senior Fellow Phillip Cornell provides in-depth analysis of the US case and identifies strategic product stockholding practices of countries around the world, from the Netherlands to India and China.

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Venezuela is in a state of desperation as its oil industry – for years the foundation of the country’s economy – spirals out of control. With elections on the horizon, the United States speeding up its drumbeat of sanctions, and Russia and China’s influence increasing in the country, the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center today releases The Collapse of the Venezuelan Oil Industry and its Global Consequences, a new policy brief detailing what’s ahead for the crisis-ridden country and its oil industry.

Written by Atlantic Council author Francisco Monaldi, a fellow in Latin American Energy Policy at Rice University’s Baker Institute and founding director of the Center for Energy and the Environment at the Management Studies Institute in Venezuela, the brief lays out the factors leading to the oil collapse, details sanctions options and their impact, measures Russia’s and China’s increasing presence, and presents various short and long-term scenarios for the industry against a potential default.

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“The Russians and other purveyors of disinformation will constantly improve their tactics; our counter-tactics therefore cannot be static,” write Ambassador Daniel Fried and Dr. Alina Polyakova in Democratic Defense Against Disinformation, a new publication by the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. This report is part of the broader transatlantic effort to identify democratic solutions for countering disinformation in the short term and building societal resistance to it in the long term.

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Over the past ten years, Chinese companies and policy banks have steadily invested and lent hundreds of billions of dollars in Latin America's oil and gas sector. China's leaders have been pressured to secure energy resources because of stagnating domestic oil production coupled with rapid growth in consumption. Latin America's growing proven oil reserves have made it an attractive partner for China. The rise in capital flowing from China to the energy sector in Latin America, plus the lack of transparency around the deals however, has led to a rise in myths about the true motivation behind China's intentions. This report seeks to uncover the facts of Chinese investment and lending deals in the Latin American energy sector, explains what is reality and what are myths, and provides pointed recommendations of how all parties can help shape a better energy cooperation.

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New US sanctions on Russia now being implemented by the administration were imposed in August 2017and included additional sanctions on the energy sector. This new legislation both tightens earlier sanctions and includes sanctions against entities supporting or investing in Russia's oil and gas pipeline networks. The sanctions were intended to delay and hamper Russia's ability to develop various energy projects, but Russia recently reached noteworthy levels of oil production and gas exports. In his new report, "Impact of Sanctions on Russia's Energy Sector," Global Energy Center Non-Resident Senior Fellow Bud Coote addresses the impact of US and European Union sanctions on Russia's energy sector, Moscow's strategy and actions to deal with energy-related sanctions, and some of the geopolitical and other implications of Russia's ability to cope with these sanctions. Coote's analysis highlights how Moscow has managed to successfully pursue its energy goals, despite the broader negative impact of sanctions on other areas of the Russian economy.

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The buildup and threatening exercise of Russian conventional forces has been an important component of Russia’s multifaceted anti-Western campaign. NATO has the inherent capacity to deter, or if necessary prevail in, a conventional conflict. Its forces, however, while large, are currently neither adequately ready nor oriented to ensure that such deterrence is fully credible or that a warfighting campaign could be promptly successful. This report proposes that NATO should enhance its deterrent and warfighting posture in Europe by adopting at the 2018 NATO Summit the strategy of “Effective Deterrence by Prompt Reinforcement,” specifically in reference to Russian activities that have increased the conventional challenge to the Alliance. Key components of the strategy include a readiness initiative, enhanced intelligence, rapid decision-making, prompt reinforcement by United States and European ground and air forces, expanded maritime capabilities, integration of highly capable cyber nations’ capacities, and establishment of an integrated plan for the multi-domain defense of Europe.

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This report analyzes four country-level case studies to examine the factors that have shaped countries’ ability to react to a sudden influx of asylum seekers or refugees, and demonstrates a spectrum of success in integration. The paper looks at three Arab countries—Lebanon, Tunisia, and Egypt—that have hosted large numbers of asylum seekers and refugees, particularly since 2011, and Germany, which willingly took on one million Syrian asylum seekers and refugees starting in 2015. Germany stands out in contrast to the other countries in this report for several reasons: it is neither in the Middle East nor bordering or near a conflict zone, it has a robust economy and sophisticated legal system for integrating refugees, and, foremost among its European neighbors, it willingly accepted the refugees, whereas others took them in largely involuntarily.

 

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Power and Influence in a Globalized World outlines the strategic framework of the international system's capabilities and interactions amongst the global community. The report shows how power and influence are derived from more than just coercive military capabilities, but are exercised through networks of economic, political, and security interactions involving states as well as non-state actors. The function of this report is to fill in the conceptual and empirical gaps, by creating a new index, the Foreign Bilateral Influence Capacity (FBIC) Index. The FBIC is tasked with identifying the key influencers in the international community, and analyzing those that register above or below their weight in the world, altogether clarifying where the United States and others stand in the international system. The FBIC Index is based on the interaction between states, as well as the relative dependence of one state on another.

 

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Across the Middle East and North Africa, population growth is driving demand for air conditioning, water, and infrastructure, which has in turn led to more demand for electricity. Middle Eastern countries, particularly in the Gulf, are increasingly looking to renewable energy to meet their growing energy needs. Much of the emphasis is on solar, including photovoltaic panels and concentrated solar power, along with increased interest in wind energy. 

 

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